Not everyone is going to get a book deal.
You have a brilliant idea. But the time just might not be right. The agent who loves the idea might say you need to build your platform. The editor who adores it might not be able to sell it to her team.
And none of these reasons mean that there’s anything “wrong” with your book idea. Nor does it mean that you’re “not enough of an expert” to write this book.
It means, what it means.
You’re not getting a book deal with a traditional publisher right now.
And that my friend is not the end of the world, it just means it’s time for your Plan B.
Maybe I’m weird, but I sorta love “Plan B’s”.
A good Plan B is one you can pivot to and feel GOOD about, and possibly GREAT about. A good Plan B is a safety net, but one with a good dose of freedom, AND excitement mixed in.
Instead of thinking about your Plan A not working out as a failure, a disaster… you get to take on a growth-mindset mentality. You GET to shift to a whole new plan. Maybe this new plan will be EVEN BETTER! Sure the traditional publishing Plan A had a lot of exciting possibilities, but those are no longer options…. So instead the opportunity is in finding the good in Plan B.
Unpacking “the Good” in Your Plan B
First, let’s circle back to what your Plan A was in the first place. Plan A was the book proposal you’ve been working on for the last six months that you pitched to over 25 literary agents. You got some good feedback and you know the idea is sound, but you didn’t receive an offer of representation.
You’re certain that you must bring this book into the world. You want to make an impact with your ideas and this book is your next step.
As part of your book proposal, you’ve already developed the entire table of contents, multiple sample chapters, and a complete marketing plan for launching your book.
When I work with clients we often identify a Plan B from the very beginning — so that if their Plan A doesn’t pan out, they already have a clear vision of where they will head next. No matter when you make that decision, it’s a highly personal and complex one.
Assuming your Plan A is the traditional publishing route which includes a book proposal and pitching literary agents, then your Plan B options are generally:
- Hybrid Publishing
Firstly, I feel like the title “self-publishing” is a misnomer these days because there’s definitely no reason for you to do it alone.
There are tons of experts out there who can provide you with all sorts of guidance and expertise in everything from the writing of the book (writing coaches and book coaches) to editing and copyediting, layout, cover design, even things like recording and creating an audiobook version.
When it comes to marketing and promotion, remember when you were working on your Plan A and you developed that robust marketing plan to launch your book because the traditional publisher wasn’t going to do all that work for you anyway? Well, there’s your starting point. Next, you’ll want to get up to speed and/or work with specialists in marketing and promotion on Amazon and other platforms.
When looking for the goodness in self-publishing, you really don’t need to look that far. You’ll have the freedom and independence to put together a team to ensure you write and publish the best book you can. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about marketing and promotion, and take the time and make the effort to build your platform to make your book launch a success, and then at the end of the day, you will keep 100% of the profits after you pay your team.
Contrast this with traditional publishing whereas a first-time author you will likely see a 4-5 figure advance (maybe 6 figures if you have a very big platform and strongly commercial idea), of which your agent takes their 15%, and you won’t see royalties until you “earn-out” your advance (assume you get 10% of each copy sold you will earn out once you hit the advance amount).
Exploring Hybrid Publishing
Now “hybrid publishing” is a really interesting option. It’s really a blend of many aspects of traditional publishing and self-publishing. While with self-publishing you will certainly be investing some money in certain elements of the project, with hybrid publishing you’re investing a much more significant sum, but you are also handing your project over to a team of publishing experts — probably with years of traditional publishing experience behind them.
Hybrid publishers also curate the books they publish, they don’t just “publish anything”, they are selective. And, in addition, hybrid published books are available for distribution into bookstores and internationally, and can be considered for bestseller lists like the highly regarded ones at The New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
In talking recently with a few of the most reputable hybrid publishers, Greenleaf Book Group and Page Two, the process with these types of publishers is once accepted there is a fee estimated based on the extent of editing required, production value/complexity, and marketing and promotion need — and the fee range can run from $25,000 to over $100,000 for very high-end or complex books. So, not an insignificant investment, but the writer keeps as much as 85% of the net proceeds of every copy sold. You do the math.
At the end of the day, if your goal is to get your book published and out into the world, there is more than just Plan A. Tying your self-worth to JUST a Plan A, is so not worth it.
Book a free 30-minute consult to start to map out your own Plan A and B!